Talk by Ian Solomon on Education During a Time of Global Disruption

IAN SOLOMON: Thank you
all for being here. So this is a little
bit misleading, because it really should
be a question mark on it. Because I’ve asked you all to
come to help me solve a problem and to understand
this question of, what’s going on in the world? And what do we, those of
us who care about education and those of us who care
about the future of education, what do we think we need to
do to prepare people, prepare students, prepare our
institutions to thrive as individuals and to
thrive as a society? So it sounds very formal. The introduction’s very formal. I’m going to call on you,
I’m going to pick on you. I’m going to call on my
good friend Prakash Prasad there, who I worked
with for a few years, and used to bother
him at the World Bank, and I get the chance
to do it again. [? Pyle, ?] our former
alumni leader here. So I really want your
help, particularly because I want to better
understand this country. Even just following
the news about what’s going on here in India this
week in the educational sector. Lots of [INAUDIBLE]. I think even people had trouble
even getting here this evening because of student protests. It looks formal. I’m here with a
[? mike, ?] but I really want you to disagree with me, to
challenge made me, and to help think through what it says here,
how a global university must adapt in order to
advance its mission. Really want your ideas on that. So it’s a real pleasure for me
to join you here at the center and to welcome you here. If this is your
first visit here, I hope it’s the first of many. If you’re a regular visitor,
I’m glad to see you back. And hopefully, this
is a place that you can feel like you’re part of
a continuous conversation, a place of inquiry
and explorations with the university. I want to bring greetings from
the faculty director, Gary Tubb who, three weeks ago in
the middle of January, was appointed as the first
Anupama and Guru Ramakrishnan Professor in Sanskrit Studies
at the University of Chicago. I’m very proud of Gary for
that new acknowledgement, and very pleased with
that award, which will deepen our research
and study in Sanskrit, which was one the very
first courses taught at the University
of Chicago when it was founded 125 years ago. Our connection to
South Asia and to India goes back to the very founding. And this year, in
a few months, we will also celebrate
the 50th anniversary of our Sub-South Asian Languages
and Civilizations Department. So there are a lot of
events happening in Chicago. In fact, March in Chicago and
March here in the Delhi Center will be very, very active
for the university. So you see the logo
here, our little shield for the University. That’s not just any old bird. That’s the Phoenix. Anyone know what the
Phoenix stands for? AUDIENCE: Rebirth. IAN SOLOMON: Rebirth AUDIENCE: Rising from crisis. IAN SOLOMON: Exactly. So it’s a mythological
creature that lived for 500 or 600 years,
then burnt up in crisis, and then was reborn
out of that crisis. And I think that can
be a fitting symbol to kick off this conversation
about education, rebirth, renewal, regeneration,
during what I’m calling a time of global disruption. Now, by global destruction, I’m
going to get into it a little, but disruption has lots
of meanings out there. There’s the
disruptive innovation that Clayton
Christensen talks about. I’m using it very broadly. When incumbents and
existing parties, their mode of doing
business is threatened by either new
processes, new players, but there’s some fundamental
disruption in their ability to continue business as usual. And what I want to
discover and explore with you is, what is the
rebirth out of this period in this sphere of education? And I’ve been
exploring this question for the two and a half years
I’ve been at the University. Makes it important for all
global universities now to think about,
what does it mean to operate in this
new environment? But the issue actually feels
more urgent and pressing to me now, and maybe you
feel the same way. It feels to me that we are
in a moment of heightened global anxiety and instability. Part of this, of
course, is driven by global economic uncertainty. I think the slowing growth
in China, low oil prices. The World Bank’s global
economic prospects talks about substantial
downside risks. We have challenges across
the emerging markets. India is the best-performing
BRIC right now, although, many of the
Indians I speak to don’t feel the same kind
of confidence and optimism that they experienced when
Mr. Prasad and I were here, what was it, 2011? A very different
mood, even though India’s still doing the best. I also detect a new sense
of security vulnerability, like the bizarre
combination of what feel like Cold War tensions,
what feel like World War tensions, what feel
like new terror threats, whether it’s ISIS and
stateless actors, whether it’s the Russia-US tension, whether
it’s the Syrian Civil War and migration concerns
across Europe. It’s also a very interesting
political moment, at least in the United
States for those of you who are watching. Our mainstream parties
have, in some sense, lost control of
their candidates. And I don’t mean to judge
it, but it’s actually interesting moment when there’s
a sense of anger, unrest, disease, scapegoating, and very
real concerns about inequality has real anti-establishment
feeling now. And then, of course, within
universities, very serious concerns about the cost
of higher education, and proposals in the US to
tie federal student loans to a university’s proof
that it can actually get its graduates jobs. Real debates about
the role of freedom of speech on US campuses,
as well as here in India on, what is the relation
between freedom of speech and sensitivity
to marginalized populations on campus? Real questions about
identity and inclusion, both for students at economic
levels, as well as for women. Recent issues related
to sexual misconduct that are very serious. So it’s a moment of, I
think, real uncertainty, and a real question about, what
is the role of the university, in how are
universities adapting? But taking a step back from
this particular moment, I want to look at some
of the broad trends that have been building
for several decades and see where they
lead to, and look at technology, globalization,
or the global interconnection, integration of markets,
and demography, the demographic shifts
we’re experiencing, and see how technology,
globalization, demographics, are creating new challenges
and opportunities for higher education institutions. And I think they will inform
three questions for us that are important. The first is, who
are the students? How do we think about
the student population and who we want to be teaching? The second is, what is it that
they expect to be learning and/or need to be learning? And third, how best to prepare
them with that capacity, with those abilities? So the most profound trend,
I think, is technology. The revolution in computation
and processing power, the revolution in
communication and connectivity, the power of sensors and
data, and the radical increase in speed, power, choice for
information, which, of course, beyond just communication
and computation, is now fueling lots of
changes in transportation, manufacturing, 3D printing, the
life sciences, new materials. And raise your hand if you
don’t have a smartphone. Wow. And actually, we should remember
that half the world doesn’t have a phone, and those that
do have phones, many of them are not even smart. But this is a piece of
science fiction, right? I mean, just think about what
do I want to get immediately at my fingertips? The weather? Do I want to order a gift
for my colleague, Sybil, who joined from Chicago? The ability to get on-demand
access to information, to services was science
fiction a few years ago. Portability. We can take this
anywhere, through wireless and remote communication. All of a sudden,
everything’s portable. If you have a
cellphone, if you’ve taken a picture with your
phone in the past 10 days, raise your hand. If you’ve taken a picture with
a camera in the past 10 days, raise your hand. OK, it’s actually
a pretty big group. But disruption, new
technology replacing the old. Personalisation of services. We all expect or
now rely on the fact that Google knows something
about what we looked for the other day online. Or Amazon is recommending
books for us to buy, based on other things we bought. Use of personal data
and personalisation. New levels of interaction. If you’ve been on
WhatsApp, or Facebook, or some sort of social
connection, raise your hand. These are all new capabilities
that are very recent. Unbundling of services–
you can now pick and choose the specific things you want. Here, for example, I guess
cable’s still relatively cheap, so people buy the full cable
services they want for TV. But cable is dying in
other parts of the world, because people just pick
and choose what they want, either through Amazon
or through Netflix. The unbundling of services. These are all new
features, I think, that technology brings
at our fingertips, and we’re going to talk about
what these should, or could, or will mean for education. And I think we’re probably
at the very early stages of this technological
revolution, with new breakthroughs in
artificial intelligence, robotics, self-driving vehicles,
3D printing, nanotechnology, quantum computing. And of course, any one
of these developments will have dramatic impacts
across the economy, and society, and employment. Think about the
traditional retail shop being disrupted by
Amazon or Alibaba which offer the
on-demands access. And in some cases, I’m not
sure they do this here, but you can get delivery in
one hour in parts of New York. Do they have hourly
delivery here in India yet? That seems like a very
dangerous thing to promise. But it will come, once
drone delivery starts. How about traditional
advertising disrupted by Google, capable
of micro-targeting people who have a new
Chicago affiliation and care about certain things? You can suddenly get Google
ads delivered straight to you, changing the nature
of advertising and the return on the
advertising dollar. Or Uber, or Ola, I
guess, is the competitor to Uber here, in which the taxi
ride experience is now ordered, paid for, tracked on your phone,
and the ownership of assets is now distributed and control
according to a common platform. Not a big deal here, but Airbnb. All right, in the
US, is everyone familiar with Airbnb, which
is, basically, it’s like Uber, but your apartment, or your
house, or your vacation home? I guess Indians
are not always keen on letting others
use their properties, but there are many people
who earn a living using Airbnb in parts of New York. And Airbnb now provides
almost as much rooms as some of the largest hotel
operators around the world, changing the nature of hoteling. Traditional lodging
is disrupted. Now, disruption is not
new, and this trend of new technologies
threatening the viability of their predecessors
is, I think, the story of economic
growth throughout history. And the horse was
disrupted by the car, at least when it
became cheap enough when the Model T came around. Fax machines. Who has a fax machine still? Disrupted by– Really? You do? Or you personally do? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] IAN SOLOMON: Were you here? You’re one of the few. But disrupted by email
and scanning devices. The typewriter. Who owns a typewriter? Print newspapers. I still get one every
day in my hotel. Of course, I’ve usually read
the paper by then online. Encyclopedia Britannica? Natural path of
technological development. But things do appear
a bit different now. The pace, the scale,
and breadth of changes is greater than in past cycles. A recent article by
McKinsey pointed out that it took more than 50
years after the telephone was invented until half the
American homes had one. 50 years. Yet, the iPhone was introduced
in 2007 much faster. It took radio 38 years to
get 50 million listeners, whereas Facebook
attracted 6 million users in its first year,
and 600 million over the next five years. So the rate at which new
technologies are being adopted has increased, and the speed at
which industries are impacted is astounding. So if you’re a shopkeeper,
or a taxi driver, or a hotel manager, your
business and your livelihood are increasingly threatened
by just these new technologies and many more coming every day. And whole business
models are changing. As one blogger put it–
and citing this blogger, I’m not sure every piece of
this is completely accurate, but you get the point– Uber,
the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s
most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable
retailer has no inventory. Airbnb, the world’s largest
accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something very
interesting is happening. Now, that doesn’t mean that
the disrupting companies will necessarily succeed– I
think many will fail– or that the old models will
necessarily cease to exist. But there’s a fundamental
change about business models and their prospects, and
that’s just technology. Let’s talk about globalization
and the interconnection of markets. Globalization is a
politically-charged word, so I’m a little careful with
it, because it means lot to different people. But I’m talking about the
increasing interconnection and integration of people
across borders, processes, organizations, markets,
systems, culture, and ideas across the world. So we can call it
globalization for short. And this, of course,
has transformed the way business operates
in nearly every sector. Supply of inputs, whether
it’s intellectual inputs, or material inputs,
or raw materials, they come from a greater number
of sources around the world, and a greater number of
countries than ever before. Business processes involve
participation and activities by more entities in
more parts of the globe. Ideas and people
traverse the globe with greater speed and volume. And borders and boundaries
are less and less relevant. Borders and boundaries
also offer less protection from competition, from
information, from ideas, from notions of
identity increasingly, which is why you see some
countries increasingly wanting to direct their education
systems to actually teach certain identities, because
they’re fearful even of their citizens who may
be living and studying in other countries. They want to control
what information. The third trend, demographics. Population and income
are increasing, like they always have. But of course, the
growth of population is most pronounced
across the global south. Population growth is expected to
be most rapid in the 49 poorest countries of the world,
which will double in size over the next 35 years. While, of course, many other
parts of the wealthier world see a decline in
their population and a decline in
their birth rates. India’s population
is expected increase by about [AUDIO OUT],
making it larger than the US and China combined. By the same year, 2050, one
out of every three people under the age of 25
will be in Africa. Nigeria’s population
will surpass that of the United States. If you look at the charter
birth rate, you actually see, India does start to
level off at some point, Nigeria’s keeps growing. And more and more of these
people in the global south will live in cities, earning
more with a growing middle class, spending more,
consuming more, demanding more, seeking more jobs, health
care, consumer goods, financial products, and
of course, education. So these are our
long-term trends that I think affect
these three questions I’ve mentioned earlier. Who we want to think about as
the students for education. What they need to learn in order
to participate fully and enjoy meaningful and rewarding lives. And how they will
demand to be educated. These trends are also changing
the nature of academic research in many disciplines, but
I’ll focus on education, then we can talk about research
if you want and questions. So the first issue is who
we think of as students, and I think that
notion of students needs to stretch in
a few dimensions. The first is geography. Now, there was a time,
at least in the US– and I’ll be interested to hear
what people think about India– but you actually
could be, in the US, a good regional university,
attracting students from your regional
area, because they were going to live
in that same area, and they were going to become
the [? professionals ?] of that area, and you could
still be competitive that way. At this point in time,
it’s almost impossible to be a regional university
in the United States. You have to be at least
a national university, and increasingly, among the
top schools, all global, seeking a global student body. So for thinking about going
from the regional to the global, I think we also
need to think about, where are the parts of the
world that have not actually gotten educational services,
or have woefully few of them. And frankly, here
in India, the demand for new educational
services is tremendous. Too many places are not
thought of as places where educational investments
are prioritized or valued, and access to higher education
is extremely limited globally. So I’m going to tell
[? Apinta, ?] hopefully, a good story about what
we think Chicago is doing, and look at this fantastic
center we have here. And the education we provide,
we believe, is first rate. And yet, it’s affecting
a very slim number of people around the world. As we think about these
trends of technology, and globalization,
and demography, we need to think about
how, geographically, we need to expand our thinking
with new markets and, of course, developing countries. Potential scholars,
potential leaders are born every minute in
every corner of the global, but yet, most of
them, most of them are neglected, and don’t
have the opportunities that we try to provide
for our students, and we try to be part
of here in India. Human genius doesn’t
know any borders, and yet, our institutions
and our investments often do. Talent is global,
and we need to think about how we want to tap that
to solve many of our problems. Now, this change in thinking
about thinking globally can be observed in at least many
of the top US universities now. We are actively trying to
diversify our populations and reach out to an
international student population, and we see
other countries are also doing the same. And you go to Japan and you
see them actively recruiting students from India. You go to their new programs. And China is trying to
get students from the US. So we’re all, at least
at the elite level, trying think about, how do
we globalize our student populations? In some cases, it’s
because we want the revenue of the
tuition, for many schools. It’s not Chicago’s model,
but for many schools, it is a tuition thing. But in other
places, they realize that if we want top talent, we
need to look broadly for it. So geography is one
way we need to expand. Another is age. Thinking about
students must extend beyond just the
traditional college age, because the
pace of these changes mean that job requirements and
entrepreneurial opportunities will revise rapidly many
times through someone’s life. The idea of, OK, in
four years, you’re going to learn
everything you need to know for the
11 careers you’re going to have over the
next 50 years of working, is increasingly
an obsolete idea. So we need to think about, what
are the different ways we’re going to expand our notion
of students for people at other points
in their careers, and evolving their
skills at different parts of their career. The UChicago Graham School
is actively looking at ways to develop lifelong
learning opportunities, focusing first on our alumni. But just because you’ve
graduated from the University doesn’t mean you’re
done learning or you’re done with an
interest in learning. How do we maintain that
lifelong relationship? The third way I think our
notion of who is a student needs to evolve, in addition
to geography and age, is economics. Outreach to lower
income students or marginalized populations. New forms of financial aid. Reducing barriers to
entry for students. Finding cheaper delivery
models of education to lower income students. We’re doing this in the US. And then Chicago has launched
a number of new initiatives to reduce the cost of
education, to reduce the barriers to apply. We have a no-barriers initiative
to make it really easy, not to get in
academically, but to afford to go to the University,
doing that domestically. And we also offer financial
aid to international students, though not at quite the
same levels of generosity. But it’s a real question of, how
do we expand our notion of who is a student to get
some of the urbanizing, growing populations
across the world. And the last issue is
gender and ethnicity. How do we make sure we’re– and
I’m particularly acute in this country– not leaving out
segments of the population? So the notion of
students, we need to think about
differently, and think how we use these
trends to evolve that. The second question
is, what do we expect these students to learn? So I must confess that,
now, I’d love someone to counter this argument for
me, but this emphasis in India on job skilling, the
idea that we can identify the particular
skills that someone is going to need, maybe for the
first job we do, but long-term. I think it’s a fascinating
experiment in trying to predict industry development. My hypothesis is that students
need to be prepared for a world that they cannot predict
and that we cannot predict. Because the jobs we want to
prepare them for may disappear. If we prepare them to be taxi
drivers, for example, and if we have automated Ubers
driving around, they’re not going to have jobs. If we prepare them to
work in video stores, Netflix is going
to displace them. So we need to think about
preparing them for a world we cannot predict, because we
don’t know what the leading industries will be. We don’t know which
leading countries will be, what the leading
currencies will be. We’re in a volatile moment now. I mean, I’d like to make certain
predictions as a proud American about some of those
things, but I’m not sure that’s based on
facts or evidence. And the students
will likely face a world of continuous change,
where the status quo exhibits a permanent instability. So this suggests that
the skills they need will be a different set of
skills, the skills of problem solving, skills of learning, how
do they keep learning, skills of being adaptive, and
adaptability, skills of resilience, because
they might lose many jobs in their careers. And I also think
they need skills of originality and creativity. They need to learn how to think,
because established industries will be upended more
and more frequently. So more of them will need to
be entrepreneurial and find their own ways of making
money and surviving. And of course, what
we used to teach was knowledge and information. I got the smartest
thing in the room here. Knows more knowledge than
anyone in this room, or at least can access it just as fast. So the idea of training
people with knowledge, again, increasingly outdated. Instead, they’ll
need the capacity to synthesize absurd
amounts of data, and absurd amounts of
knowledge and information, and apply it to things,
and how to use that data, and how to analyze
it, and interpret it. So I do think they will
need greater computation skills and comfort with
overwhelming quantities of data in a way that previous
generations never had to deal with. I think new
generations of students will be well-served with
a global perspective, with an understanding of
computer science and technology so they’re comfortable
with it, with the ability to cross traditional
disciplines, training people just
within a certain field of the sciences or the arts. It’s probably not
going to prepare them for the level of
volatility they will face. One of the faculty members
on the steering committee for the Center in Delhi–
you may know Martha Nussbaum, professor at the Law
School, and in Philosophy, and several other departments,
an eminent scholar– she talks about the need
to create and educate complete citizens who
can think for themselves, criticize tradition,
and understand the significance of
another person’s sufferings and achievements. Because in this new period,
demand for leadership and empathy will also be great. Those are some of the skills. What are some of the
personal capacities people will need to have? I think people are going to
need a level of mental health resourcefulness, to not
merely survive, but be capable of thriving
during turmoil. I’ve mentioned
resilience mobility. People may need to be
comfortable going to new places where there is opportunity,
because some of the places that are filled with jobs now may
not be the same places filled with jobs 5, 10,
20 years from now. People also will need skills
of self-mastery and discipline in a world with greater
diversity of civilizations and populations clashing. Cultural intelligence,
the ability to work productively with
diverse groups of people. Now, maybe these
are elitist notions, the idea that we can spend the
resources to train everybody in the world with this
set of problem-solving. And maybe the answer is
in a place like India. Actually, no, we
got to get people who can do the basic
sets of skills, because the employment
challenge is so great, the population is so big. I mean, we care about
employment, too. I think employable
skills and employability is a critical issue
in the US as well, but I believe that successful
students, long-term, wherever they are the world,
will need more of that, and I’m not sure our
traditional curriculums know how to deal with that,
at US institutions or Indian institutions. So I think it may be
time to start rethinking some of our curriculums. Which takes me to the
third question about how these trends affect education,
and that is, how do we teach? How do we use some of these
tools that we now have, and how do we take advantage of
these challenges now to think about teaching differently,
[? all ?] [? right? ?] If we go to the idea of Amazon,
or Airbnb, and Uber, what [? did ?] they suggest
might be possible in how we educate people, right? I would think that
education should be more accessible than it often is. And there may be ways to
make it more accessible, may be ways to make it
available on demand, like we can for videos
and the gift for Sybil. Make it more portable
so it can go places, wherever we are, wherever
our job may take us, wherever our lives may take us,
wherever our child [? caring ?] responsibilities might take us. I think it probably
also needs to be continuous over our
lifetime, and have enough of our personal
information so it can track what we’ve learned over time. It clearly needs
to be more global, I believe, both in terms of the
content of what we’re learning, but also the
experiences we have, so that we can keep cooperating
in different environments. If we think of the
Uber, Airbnb, I think it also
probably needs to be more networked across different
sets of [? assets, ?] right? Because increasingly,
no institution’s going to have everything a
student may need or want. So perhaps people need
to be able to access the whole network of
different [? laboratories. ?] Think of a inter-library
loan, the traditional network of resources a
university might have. You might need additional ways
of deepening these networks. I think our education
needs to be more data- and measurement-driven,
because these are very expensive investments. Are we getting the
return on the investment? If we want to open
it up to huge swaths of the global
population, how do we do it in a way that
is cost effective? More interdisciplinary
problem-focused. And I think,
institutionally, to be more capable of being flexible
and changing more quickly. Now, at the
University of Chicago, we are very proud of how
we educate our students, and we focus very much on
teaching people how to think. How many people in
this room are graduates of the University of Chicago? The rest of you, there’s still
time, if you’d like to enroll. We’d love to encourage you to
think about the University. But we educate a small
number of students. How might our approaches,
which I’ll detail a little bit, is it possible to scale them up? If we think it’s very important
to teach people how to think, we do it in a fairly rigorous,
intense, small-scale way. Can that be scaled up using
some of these new technologies, using new partnerships, using
new ways of doing business? To answer that
question, it might be useful to look
at what we’re doing, but also what some others
are doing in the education innovation space. So for our [INAUDIBLE]
who think we emphasize, at least in the college,
a core curriculum. Some core materials
which students get to know very
intimately, in close proximity with a
senior faculty member, and it’s very much of an
intimate relationship. Small classes,
highly-paid faculty, hard to scale up,
but an important part of learning how to think. We offer study abroad
opportunities so students can spend time in other countries. And about half of our
students do at some point during their college careers. For the grad students,
half our grad students are international at
many more schools. And what does it mean
to be international? They have different
passports, which is a very limited definition
of their internationality. But we do have an increasing
international student population, so more
and more often, the proportion of
our students that are American citizens
who grew up in America is a smaller proportion. At the graduate level, we
have intense faculty work. So there’s a very personal,
close, physical relationship, oftentimes. Physical in the sense
of, in the same class, you’re in the same room. So scaling that
up is a challenge. We also have where
you are today. These global centers
that are intended to not do all of that interaction,
all of that inquiry and dialogue in
Hyde Park, Chicago, but to create in major
cities around the world. So we have it here, in
Beijing, in Hong Kong, in Paris to have
more of that dialogue and debate with
others, and take some of that education and scholarly
collaboration elsewhere. We also use these
centers as hubs to find new ways
of experimenting. So we have a program here called
the International Innovation Corps, where we take
recent college graduates from the University of
Chicago and recent college graduates from
Indian institutions, and they will partner
on teams, and work with different Indian
government agencies on solving policy problems. Again, a continuation of
their education, but also a way to have more
impact in the world. We also use our center
to host our Energy Policy Institute, which is
working with the Delhi city government on an urban challenge
to find solutions for India’s air quality issues, as well as
other Indian state governments on environmental regulations. We have students who, this
is a hub for their work they’ve done at Tata
Institute for Social Science. So this is one way
that we’re trying to innovate to deal with some
of these trends of globalization and the demographics. But there’s some other
very interesting models out there at other institutions. Who here has heard of Coursera? This is the company that made
MOOCs, Massively Open Online Courses, popular. And people thought, ah, they’re
going to take over the world. They haven’t taken
over the world. They haven’t really threatened
the major institutions. But the point may not be whether
they cause stress or threaten the existing universities. Question is, are they able
to actually bring more people into educational
opportunity, all right? So many governments
around the world are using MOOCs to
train their officials. Still small numbers, but in
Saudi Arabia, and other parts of the Middle East,
they’re using MOOCs as a way to give more affordable
education to their people. Of course, they are
partners with universities, they develop content, and
they make most of them free. Originally, they were
all going to be free. Now, they’re realizing
that if people pay a little bit
for course, they’re more likely to
actually finish it. But again, the question
is not necessarily whether people finish or not. Are they getting some
educational benefit? So here’s one innovation, the
MOOCs, to get content broadly. And I think there has been some
innovation in how they work. I think the early
generation of online classes were basically
recording live classes without much interactivity,
without much personalisation, without much customization,
without using the technologies to the fullest. But you’re seeing more and more
of that innovation happening now, and improvements
in quality. So I think this is actually the
beginning of a important trend in figuring how to use
this more effectively, again, to attract
new definitions of, who is a student who
may not be able to come to a classroom in Hyde
Park, or even here in Delhi? Another really
interesting innovation is a company called Minerva. Anyone hear of Minerva? It’s a San Francisco-based
company that decided, you know what? We don’t need a campus. A campus is a very
expensive investment, all those buildings,
and [? laboratories? ?] Why would we invest in a campus? Let’s actually create
residential halls in seven cities
around the world, where students will rotate
across these different cities. And you know what? While we’re getting
rid of the campus, let’s get rid of lectures, too. Because the students can
still watch the lectures, but what we really want
to educate them is, let’s flip the classroom around. Ever heard of flipped classroom? So you watch the
lecture at home when you can be brushing
your teeth, eating dinner, whatever, because
that’s the passive activity. And then when you come in,
you work with the professor on the actual learning. And that’s where you
do the problem sets and much more interactive. And a lot of that
is also done online, in online seminars of no
more than 19 people, where the students, they’re getting an
interactive digital experience while they’re in one of seven
cities around the world. And the Minerva is it’s not
about knowledge and content, it’s about skills, and habits
of mind, and teaching people how to think. Because those are the skills
they’re really going to need. And for the basic
introductory material, yeah, use MOOCs for those. Another interesting
model, again, they’re not trying to be a mass
education provider the way Coursera promised to be. They want to be like Harvard
or the University of Chicago. They want to be able to attract
that elite corps of students. But again, a new
model for accessing more parts of the world. The third example I want
to give is an organization, it was just on the Fast Company
Magazine list of the Top Three Innovative Companies in Africa,
the African Leadership Academy. So if Minerva’s creating
a new university, ALU is trying to create
a whole university system in continental Africa. And they’re planning to
build 25 campuses that will house 10,000 students each
over the next decade or two. Pan-African university
campuses, emphasizing leadership and problem-solving. And their thought
is, you know what? We’re not going to invest in
scholars, and researchers, and laboratories,
for the most part. We’re going to curate the best
content wherever we can get it. So by this course from
the University of Chicago, or by this course,
[? or you’ll ?] take this course from MIT, this course
from [? McRare ?] University. And then we’ll hire
the best teachers we can find who can then
work with the students, who will be lower cost than the
researchers and the faculty, but will be great teachers
to work with students and emphasize the
practical skills. And you know what? The students won’t
pay a thing to go. It’ll be free for
them, because we’ll get businesses to pay their way
in exchange for the students working with them. So IBM or Intel will
provide the resource for a student to attend. In exchange, the student will
go work for IBM or Intel. So the student gets a
job and a free education. A new model. Not all of these will
succeed, perhaps, but interesting
approaches for how to take advantage of the
technology, the globalization, and the important
demographic changes. So let me wrap up. So I want to get some
questions, and see who wants to challenge me
or ask me hard questions. I think we have a
huge opportunity here that a lot of the old line
universities in this country, as well as in my country,
are not necessarily dealing with quickly enough. How do we reach
additional populations, bring more people in, reduce
the cost of education, improve the quality and
the return on investment? How do we broaden what we are
teaching so that we are really teaching the
problem-solving skills, and how to think, and
the skills of humanity and understanding to
work in a diverse world, and increasing global
knowledge, because students are going to need it? How do we experiment more
rapidly with new approaches to teaching and stay
innovative and adaptive, use technology more effectively,
use data and measurement better, use the network
of relationships? I think this is the opportunity,
and a lot of challenges, too. We tend to be, each
of our [? systems, ?] very decentralized. So someone in my role or
the president’s office can’t tell individual
departments how to do things. And that [? shows ?] [? true ?]
in Indian institutions, too. The humanities department
wants to do what the Humanities department does. So how does a
decentralized institution start making these changes? There’s also a lot of inertia. Many of our institutions
are comfortable, and are used to doing things
the same way for decades or centuries. How do we get them to evolve? Just don’t have
good data on what actually works for education. So we believe, at Chicago,
we have a phenomenal approach to teach people how to think. How do you measure how well you
taught someone how to think? So I think we need some new
measurement technologies, so we can actually learn
how well we’re learning. Regulatory restrictions. And that’s a meaningful term
in this particular country, of course. Because there’s been talk about
opening up the higher education system to both
external providers, which is not what
Chicago’s seeking, but others would love to come
into India to actually offer degree programs. But also to allow new forms of
degree and non-degree education systems. Status and elite reputation. It’s hard to innovate
when you’re so worried about your ranking, or where
you stand on some arbitrary notion of reputation. And it’s hard to scale up the
sort of intimate relationships that we create at
Chicago and try to teach people how to learn. So I started this with
the notion of a Phoenix, and what [? comes ?]
when [? it’s ?] reborn. So no one’s dying. There’s no major flame now. But I think there are
some embers burning around the world. And I think that
we, as educators, or as educated people, have a
[? responsibility ?] to think how the benefits
of education can extend more broadly for a more
peaceful and prosperous world. So with that, let me shut up,
and engage some questions. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *